Posted on 24 May 11
This week we’re featuring our storefront, ABEX, Affiliated Brokers Exchange Ltd, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. We spoke with CEO and President Jim McGregor about the company and its programs. Founded in 1998 and a member of The Precept Group, ABEX is a hybrid wholesale insurance provider, offering risk management, marketing and technical insurance expertise, and national specialty insurance programs for independent insurance brokers across Canada. ABEX provides an alternate market, offering Canadian brokers with out-of-the-box solutions for standard and misunderstood risks.
Jim has over 45 years of insurance industry experience, having started out his career as a casualty underwriter with The Hartford Insurance Group and eventually forming and running his own retail brokerage. At ABEX, his primary role is to develop new products and maintain and nurture relationships that he and the company have been establishing over the years.
“ABEX was built based on our relationships in the industry, both on the broker and carrier side, from our collective backgrounds in the industry,” said Jim. “We have an extensive network of brokerages across Canada and the U.S., and are selective with the brokers with whom we work. In being selective, we’re able to control our loss ratios, which is one of the reasons our programs are so successful. Also, for those brokers who do a significant amount of business with us, we will provide quasi territorial exclusivity in terms of access to our markets.”
ABEX’s strength lies in focusing on the five to six product lines it offers. “We don’t do everything, and we make sure that we’re the best at what we do,” said Jim. “We’ve grown our business based on responsive service with an excellent turnaround time. We try to get back to our brokers within 24-48 hours, and because of our relationships with our markets, we're usually able to offer better product terms and pricing. We also provide excellent claims service through our internal facility.”
One of ABEX’S key program is a Builders Risk Insurance Program designed specifically for contractors and owners, which is underwritten by several markets, and uses the IBC Broad Form Policy, providing high limits and broad coverages. “We’re still able to provide excellent pricing for framed construction, which is a tough class of business with large concentrations of value and where much of the domestic market is limited in their capacity,” explained Jim. “Coverage is available for both subdivision developments and custom homes.”
Additionally, ABEX writes a great deal of Rented Property business, which includes a program for student dwellings. “We’re looking to write student rental business (single or multiple family, off-campus housing, converted houses) in which accommodation conforms to municipal bylaws and building codes. In this space, we’re able to offer broader perils, and provide coverage that most markets won't write,” said Jim. “This includes Broad form coverage with sewer backup, water escape, replacement cost, etc. In addition, ABEX writes vacant commercial buildings.”
ABEX also offers High Value Home & Property Insurance, which provides Property and General Liability coverage for targeted classes such as Replacement Cost Starting at $500,000 Misunderstood Risks, Island Properties, Properties Owned by Non-Canadian Residents, Homes Registered in a Company Name, Estates and Trusts, Primary and Secondary Residences and Rented Condos, and Log Homes, Homeowners with Boarders, Frame Unprotected, etc.
All ABEX programs are written on A+ paper.
In terms of marketing ABEX uses e-mail to communicate with the brokerage community at large and those that do business with the firm. “We do e-mail blasts every Friday, and when products are enhanced, those e-mail blasts include the new benefits and features,” explained Jim.
To find out more about ABEX programs and to discuss working with them as a broker, contact JAD McGregor who manages the wholesale operation, at 1-888-643-2217. Also, you can visit the Brokers section of the ABEX and complete an application form.